Risus has a very simple and appealing cliche-based resolution mechanism. I have never played it with someone who already knew it, and I would like to try it but I am unsure about the "proper" (or recommended) way to declare the cliches.

In particular:

  • Do the players know the cliches of their mates?
  • And, if they do know the cliches, do they know how many dices each one has?
  • When you meet a NPC/a monster, does the GM declare the cliches and the dices?

I think that it would be natural not to declare them, which would seem a bit meta.

I mean: "You step into the lair and meet the glowing, deep eyes of the Dragon. It is at least 20 m tall and with resounding voice asks .."


"You step into the lair and meet the glowing, deep eyes of the Dragon, Big bad red fire dragon (5), evil sorcerer (4), gold obsessed (4). It is at least 20 m tall and with resounding voice asks .."

In particular, in the second version, PCs would know from start that the dragon is a spell caster and is evil and has a penchant for fire, which would be surprises in the first version.


1 Answer 1


Neither the rulebook nor the Companion mention this. Whether players want to share all their Clichés and their power or not is up to the group. If they do they have a good idea what to expect from one another, while if they don't they can surprise each other for better or worse.

Meanwhile, the Game Master does not have to share which Clichés a monster has or at what power. The latter point is kind of moot though because the moment they roll you know how powerful the Cliché is. The former is declared when combat takes place.

One of the tricks of Risus is finding how to apply your most powerful Clichés in a way that your opponent cannot apply their most powerful Cliche's, even in an Inappropriate way. Whoever declares combat first decides the kind of combat that it is, after all. This can create either of two situations: the players find a way to take on te dragon in a way it cannot really defend itself, or the Game Master reveals that the dragon is a Master of the Tango (3) and can in fact compete with the party in a dance-off. Whether or not enemies have such "silly" Clichés all depends on the kind of game that you're playing, but the beauty of Risus is that it can work just fine in either case.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, the insight about the "trick" of de-valuing the most powerful Cliche and challenging a "lesser" one seems very natural, now that you have spelled it out. I really have to try out the game and not simply read about it to learn this kind of tricks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Francesco
    Sep 25, 2016 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Francesco Because of how light Risus' rules are, running it becomes more of an art than a science. Once you have the feel for it though it's a lot of fun. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2016 at 8:45

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